Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Maryland Police Officer Found Guilty of Excessive Force

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON – Philip Dupree, 40, a former officer with the Fairmount Heights, MD Police Department, was found guilty today in U.S. District Court of violating a man’s civil rights.

            The verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves of the District of Columbia, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and FBI Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the Washington Field Office.

            A federal jury found Dupree guilty of one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly will schedule sentencing at a later date. Dupree faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for his use of unreasonable force. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            “We depend on law enforcement officers to protect our communities from crimes and to protect our civil rights while doing so,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “An officer who abuses his authority breaks the community’s trust and unfairly tarnishes the reputation of the vast majority of officers who do their jobs the right way. The jury found that the defendant broke that trust when he unjustly and unreasonably used force and violence against a fellow citizen.”

            “Police brutality and violent misconduct against defenseless people are disgraceful acts that have no place in our society today,” said Assistant Attorney General Clarke. “When law enforcement officers abuse their power, it erodes trust with the communities they are sworn to protect and serve. The victim was handcuffed and already restrained in the back of the defendant’s squad car at the time of the assault. The Justice Department is committed to holding accountable law enforcement officers who violate the civil and constitutional rights of those in their custody.”

            "Law enforcement officers swear to protect the people they serve, including those in their custody,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Sundberg. “Dupree defiled that responsibility and violated a man's civil rights. As this case demonstrates, the FBI will not hesitate to investigate officers of the law who engage in misconduct, including those who use excessive force."

         According to court documents, Dupree was on duty as a Fairmont Heights Police Officer during the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 2019. Dupree spotted a speeding vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on Eastern Avenue NE, in the District of Columbia, just across the Maryland-District of Columbia border. The driver and his sister were returning home to the District of Columbia from a family cookout in Maryland.

            Based on a 911 recording placed by the driver’s sister, Dupree told the driver to put his hands behind his back or he would pepper spray him and Dupree would activate his body-worn camera (BWC) to make the stop “official.” The driver questioned the stop because he had not committed any traffic violations and because the stop occurred in the District of Columbia. Dupree asked the driver to exit his vehicle, handcuffed the driver behind his back, and placed the driver in the front passenger seat of Dupree’s personal vehicle.

            After Dupree radioed for back-up, an officer from the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGCPD) responded. Around that same time, an MPD officer arrived at the scene in response to a 911 call the driver’s sister had placed. The MPD officer activated his BWC. Dupree did not activate his BWC at any point during the traffic stop. While the handcuffed driver was seated in Dupree’s vehicle, the driver’s sister sat in the driver’s car, ostensibly to prevent Dupree from towing the vehicle. After Dupree told the sister that he “was going to ask [her] one more time to get out of the car,” the sister responded that the car belonged to her brother and that she had a driver’s license. When the sister still refused to exit the vehicle, Dupree threatened to pepper spray her by aggressively shaking his canister of pepper spray.

            While the defendant was engaged with the sister, the handcuffed driver was seated in the front passenger seat of Dupree’s car yelling obscenities and insults and activating the vehicle’s sirens. The PFCPD officer asked the handcuffed driver to step out of the vehicle. Dupree asked the other officers for help in taking the handcuffed driver back to Maryland. The PGCPD officer declined to assist.

            As it became clear that Dupree would have to transport the driver himself, Dupree then placed the handcuffed driver back in the front passenger seat. The handcuffed driver started to scream, pleading to have another officer transport him. Dupree grabbed his pepper spray, took a step back away from handcuffed driver, shook the canister, and then stepped forward, at which point Dupree pepper-sprayed the handcuffed driver in the face and chest. Instead of transporting the handcuffed driver to the county lock-up as required by FHPD policy, Dupree transported the driver to the FHPD station and detained him there for several hours before turning him over to the county jail. While the driver was detained at FHPD, Dupree drafted a falsified statement of Probable Cause in which he claimed, among other things, that the driver had attacked him.

            In addition to body-worn camera footage, an eyewitness captured cell phone video of the traffic stop and Dupree’s excessive use of force.

            FBI agents arrested Dupree on August 24, 2022, in Washington D.C.

            The case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Howland of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.



Philip Dupree, 40, a former officer with the Fairmount Heights, MD Police Department, was found guilty today in U.S. District Court of violating a man’s civil rights.

Updated June 17, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-521